Look Up Film Challenge Judges

We are honored to announce such a wonderful line-up of talented architects and media professionals on our judging panel for the Look Up Film Challenge

See below for a few words of encouragement from the judges, and read their bios.



“Architecture is perhaps the most practical of art forms. The spaces in which our lives unfold were created at the intersection between art and engineering, which makes this competition particularly unique. Filmmaking usually focuses on the beauty that surrounds us in the form of architecture. This initiative will challenge artists to use the cinematic eye to capture the grandeur and nuances of this functional creative work. Originality is always a much more valuable asset than perfection in terms of technique. To translate the vastness and eclectic sensitivities associate with architecture into an audiovisual work is a great feat that can only be achieved with a hefty dose of singularity.”

Originally from Mexico City, Carlos Aguilar is a film journalist based in Los Angeles who regularly writes for Indiewire, SydneysBuzz, MovieMaker Magazine, Variety Latino, Creative Screenwriting, among others. He has a passion for World Cinema, animation, documentaries, and all other unconventional cinematic works. In 2014 he was one of six young film critics selected for the first edition of the Roger Ebert Fellowship at the Sundance Film Festival. Aside from his work as a journalist, Carlos Aguilar works as a reader for several screenwriting initiatives and private companies. Aguilar likes to also consider himself an aspiring filmmaker.



Miguel Del Rio is a principal at Del Rio Arquitectos, CSP, a design firm specializing in residential, mixed use and hospitality projects. Miguel has also held several leadership positions within the AIA at local, regional and national levels, including 2010 AIA Puerto Rico Chapter president, AIA Diversity Council co-chair, and member of the EVP/CEO Search Committee and Board Knowledge Committee. Miguel is a design professor at the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Architecture and previously taught at the Polytechnic University Architecture School. He is an active member of the Colegio de Arquitectos y Arquitectos Paisajistas de Puerto Rico where he has been appointed to various committees such as the Legislative Affairs Committee, the Liaison Committee and the Codes and Regulations Task Force.



“I’m excited for the Look Up Film Challenge to see and hear great narratives about architects and their communities - film is an almost universally accessible format and it’ll be exciting to see creative colleagues leverage the format to tell our stories. I think the most successful entries will be those that engage and connect with everyone, with beauty, wit, and a sense of humor.”

Peter Exley FAIA is an architect, designer and advocate for interactive public environments, committed to the construction of new paradigms in pedagogy, play, public space and participatory experience. Hailing from Yorkshire, he arrived in Chicago for a year in 1985. He has mostly been there ever since, and founded ArchitectureIsFun on April Fools’ Day 1994. He is a Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the co-host of PechaKucha Night Chicago, 2015 President of the Penn Club of Chicago, winner of the 2012 Benjamin Moore HUE Award, was the 2013 President of AIA Chicago and serves on the national Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects.



“I’m interested to see what kind of filmmaking community exists surrounding architects and the broader building industry. As someone that left the architect tract to pursue this avenue, I'd love to see a tidal wave of others join in the effort to construct a new vision for the stories about, behind and embedded within our built environment. If not us, then who will? And the answer is someone else, another non-architectural profession, with different goals. So now is the time, to seize the opportunity, and take control as innovators, dreamers, leaders and storytellers! Push the bounds for what we think of when we think of architectural cinematography, not just in artistic form, but even more importantly, in storyline. Make us feel your film.”

Ian is an architectural designer-turned-filmmaker that co-founded Arbuckle Industries, an award winning New York City based video production company focusing on architectural cinematography. Since founding in 2007 he has helped the company produce films ranging from feature length, to short format videos while conducting over 250 interviews with leading architects, designers, builders and politicians. His clients include such notables as Architect Magazine, Friends of the High Line, AIA, Etsy, Regional Plan Association, Apartment Therapy, Yamaha, CBRE and Global Heritage Fund. At Arbuckle he is the business director while also acting as lead producer and production manager. He has spoken widely on the topic of film and architecture ranging from national conferences, film festivals and design schools and has taught architectural filmmaking at the University of Minnesota.


“What excites me most about the I Look Up campaign is the potential to reach wider audiences about the role of architects in our society. We listen, look up and propose ideas that respond to the clients needs and expectations. [The campaign can] demystify the idea of architects as creators of objects but as facilitators in the process of creating places to live, work and play with an emphasis in a sustainable future.”

Alicia Ravetto FAIA and LEED Fellow is an international leader in bioclimatic architecture whose work benefits people of all socioeconomic levels. Alicia’s expertise in sustainable energy has resulted in high performance commercial buildings, libraries, educational facilities at colleges and universities, private homes, and hundreds of other sustainable design projects - designs that exemplify her passion for energy conservation and a sustainable future for all. Alicia believes architects are responsible to the broader community and society as a whole, not just to those who can pay for their professional services. Through her advocacy efforts, she shares the tools, knowledge, and foresight to help others make sustainable, high-performance, affordable design choices.



If you want to keep up with Jay Russell, you better be ready to hustle. Seriously, this guy has covered a lot of territory in his 18 years in the advertising industry. Side note: He’s also 9,000 miles into his effort to run the circumference of the earth — 15,901 to go. It’s no coincidence that Jay worked at GSD&M as the group creative director for BMW, leading the successful pitch to win BMW’s global business. His leadership, creativity and direction propelled his team to win many awards for BMW work, including Athena and ADDY awards.

Jay kicked off his career working at DDB with brands like Bud Light, PBS and American Airlines. Then he worked as creative director for Miller Brewing at Square One and Nationwide Insurance at TM Advertising. He’s won awards from Cannes, Communication Arts, the One Show and more. Most recently, Jay helped launch the Windows phone as creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Back in Austin, Jay is an integral part of the GSD&M team leading our creative department as chief creative officer. Jay received his degree in advertising from Southern Methodist University.



“At its heart, the Look Up Film Challenge is about encouraging people to pay closer attention to the built environment, which is why I’m so excited to participate. It’s great that the AIA has initiated this discussion. Architects shape so much of our lives, and creating a dialogue around that influence – thinking critically about it, and even celebrating it – can only help us to create a better world. I am excited to see what stories people tell about the architecture that surrounds us, and the lives it enables us to lead.”

Joan Saba leads NBBJ’s healthcare design practice, the second-largest healthcare architecture firm in the world and named one of the most innovative by Fast Company. She brings more than 25 years of expertise and strategic vision to all types of healthcare projects, with a focus on academic medical centers, pediatric and teaching hospitals.

Joan’s expertise in translating current and future programmatic and operational needs into effective healing environments is applied to projects of diverse scales. She recently led the healthcare planning and design efforts on the Kimmel Pavilion at New York University’s Langone Medical Center and a medical center at the American University of Beirut. Her recent work on the Massachusetts General Hospital Lunder Building won numerous design and industry awards, including a National Healthcare Design Award from the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health.


“The most exciting aspect of this challenge is that it has not been done before. This is a new frontier to be explored and challenged beyond typical mental and physical realms. I Look Up is in my head at the most random times these days. Out on a hiking trail #ilookup and see the glory of the trees. Under a waterfall #ilookup to understand the detailed path of natural water. Back in the office I understand the value of the roof canopy I’m designing and better design for the path of water near my buildings. I look forward to seeing the submitters leap beyond their comfort zone. I hope that architects will challenge their own perspectives towards betterment.”

Karen E. Williams, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C is consistently working to educate people about the inner benefits of the architecture community. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oregon where she teaches Revit and Professional Practice. As a means to be professional example, Karen is on the AIA-SWO board and supports STAnDD a local student group. She joined PIVOT Architecture in 2014 as a Project Architect after practicing on the East coast for 9 years.

Visit the Journal Archive